Data Visionaries Healthcare

Creating a Global Standard for Genomic Data Management

Genomic Data
Editorial Team
Written by Editorial Team

All humans share the same DNA, however the sequence of it is 100 percent unique to the individual. If two friends were to compare their DNA, they would find about 5 million differences. Because each of us is unique at our core, those differences are the “hidden” reason why treatment and prevention plans work for some patients, but not for others. Getting to the core of those differences is creating a demand for individualized and precise approaches to medicine and is the driving force behind the visionary work being done by WuXi NextCODE.

With the world’s largest collection of human genome sequences – they refer to it as the “internet of DNA” – the team at WuXi NextCODE has the only data architecture designed to optimize the use of massive amounts of genomic data. They leverage NetApp solutions to make it possible to integrate data on the fly to deliver unprecedented computational efficiency, enabling healthcare organizations to unlock the power of the genome to transform medical care and advance precision medicine.

According to Rob Brainin, the CEO of WuXi NextCODE, “It was only 15 years ago that the first whole human genome was sequenced. It took two decades and cost almost $3 billion to do. The cost has come down radically to under a $1,000 and a few days, but that’s generated a tsunami of data.”

Studying the structure of DNA also reveals information about gene expression and helps researchers better track mutations, detect cancers, and speed diagnosis of rare diseases. As Dr. Hakon Gudbjartsson, WuXi NextCODE CIO, explained, “The challenge is to take a dataset of 5 million and figure out the differences or mutations that are important — which ones are the causes of rare diseases, chronic conditions, and cancers, and how to individualize patient treatment.”

WuXi NextCODE leverages NetApp® Cloud Data Services and NetApp Cloud Volumes Service, to integrate data on the fly with unprecedented computational efficiency.

“The benchmark for analyzing genomic data is accessing it from data from 100,000 individuals,” Dr. Gudbjartsson said. “We always had timeouts or file failures, but when we tested this using the NetApp Cloud Volumes Service, it actually finished in less than an hour. That was a great breakthrough for us.”

Today, this architecture underpins preeminent genomics efforts on four continents and is the emerging global standard for organizing, mining, and sharing large-sequence datasets.

Find out more about Dr. Gudbjartsson’s visionary work in precision medicine with genomic data here:



About the author

Editorial Team

Editorial Team

The GovDataDownload editorial team consists of Shany Seawright, Chelsea Barone, and Margaret Brown. You can reach the team at